A year-long survey posted on the t website has been asking residents what new services they’d like to see in town. The top answer is an indoor tennis facility, while the suggestion of a spray park also proved popular.
After gathering the votes over the course of the year, the Toms River Recreation Department will now explore how feasible the choices were, said Recreation Director Eric Schubiger.
Schubiger explained some of the other options posted as part of the survey, which was an informal poll to gauge basic interest on ideas that had been brought up previously.
The most popular idea, an indoor tennis facility, will eventually have a group of concerned residents and experts to look into how feasible the idea is before proceeding further.
Councilman John Sevastakis said in previous council meetings that the feedback and discusion on what recreation options are most needed in Toms River have been ongoing, through the online survey and at the township's recreation committee meetings. The committee meets monthly on a Monday night in town hall.
is asking anyone interested in the indoor tennis facility's feasibility to contact him at .
Schubiger said his office heard from individuals who traveled out of town to play tennis indoors, using such facilities as Good Sports in Wall. While Toms River once had a privately own racquetball club, that facility closed down years ago.
Township parks such as have outdoor tennis courts, as do the high schools, but Schubiger said an indoor option was the most popular result of the informal survey.
An indoor tennis facility would enable tennis aficionados to play even if inclimate weather or the winter months closed the outdoor facilities, he said.
A spray park, or sprayground, is a type of water park that employs fountains and sprays for families to play in. Currently, Toms River has an outdoor pool at the Snug Harbor location but nothing like this, Schuber said.
Pine Lake Park in Manchester has a spray park, and in Colts Neck there is a more elaborate one at Dorbrook Park as part of the respective public parks systems there. Asbury Park has one on its boardwalk, complete with elaborate sprays and sprinklers, buckets that fill and overturn, and waterfall effects and more.
Schubiger said the concept is not water slides but more of fountain and sprinklers.
"Another fun place to place during the hot summer, for families to go," Schubiger said.
The outdoor pool suggestion, Schubiger said, was put on the survey to see if an additional location was needed. Currently the township has the Snug Harbor pool, off Fischer Boulevard in the eastern part of Toms River, and the question was one to see if the west and northern sections of town felt there needed to be a facility closer by.
Schubiger said that on the hottest July days, the Snug Harbor pool does get crowded and serve many families, but the suggestion was one more of access for a section of town than of overcrowding at the existing facility.
He said adding trails, a type of “passive recreation,” was a popular choice with those who answered the survey. It was the third most popular choice behind the indoor tennis and the spray park.
Currently trails for walking and biking exist at and parks, and walking trails are part of the now under construction.
An amphitheater could be rented out, and could facilitate outdoor theater and live acts. Currently a popular at the library during the summer is played outside on the steps of the downtown Toms River branch.
Scoring less popular in the survey were options such as a miniature golf course, boat ramp and bocce court. Though those options exist nearby or in Toms River, they are mainly available to or by patronizing a local business.
The votes as of noon were:
- 1320 total votes
- Indoor Tennis Facility, 343 votes (26 percent)
- Sprayground, 307 votes (23 percent)
- Fitness/Walking Trails, 209 votes (16 percent)
- Public Ice Skating Area, 91 votes (7 percent)
- Amphitheatre, 84 votes (6 percent)
- Miniature Golf Course, 79 votes (6 percent)
- Outdoor Pool, 74 votes (6 percent)
- Fishing Pier, 71 votes (5 percent)
- Boat Ramp, 46 votes (3 percent)
- Bocce/Shuffleboard courts, 16 votes (1 percent)
The survey remains available online and Schubiger encourages residents to continue to vote, here.